I shared this post about handling social rejection on my personal Facebook because I felt it was a really important post.
My philosophy is governed overall by taking bad things that happen to me and using them as an excuse to be more positive. It’s not an easy adjustment to make, but it works most of the time once you do it.
How I figured this out:
There’s a rather grim origin of how I came to do this. It wasn’t because of any sort of elite education or training. I had the worst schools and more disadvantages than many would think. It was because of trauma.
When I was a kid I was sick one time. I was coughing at night. A family member came into my room and beat me every time I coughed so that I was terrified to cough.
I made a game of turning my coughs into yawns.
You have a choice:
I could have chosen to let this trauma negatively affect me for my entire life. Instead, somewhere when I hit 25, I realized that the theory of taking something bad – spinning straw into gold, so to speak – was a good philosophy to adopt. 25 is about the average age in which I don’t feel we can blame our parents for our lives anymore. That’s the time in which we need to choose who we are and to take control of it.
What if we allowed the bad things to inspire the good things?
If you allow the traumas in your life to inspire you to do the opposite – you are limitless.
Life is about choice. It’s your job to stand up for yourself and to say you aren’t going to be like this person or that person. It’s your job to define what you stand for.
When we connect with our Why, our power grows even more.
My Why? It’s bringing communities together and elevating the arts and education. I choose to be the person I needed 20 years ago.
Your Why could be your kids. Or the smiles your art brings to people. It could be political change that your writing inspires. It could be your family.
Think about it – there could be many reasons you are rejected / excluded by someone. Maybe they are preoccupied with some tragedy in their life. Maybe they are responding to trauma in an unhealthy way. In most cases aggression is a response by an ugly heart. Just imagine how much pain they must be in to lose control of their composure and kindness.
Every time I have considered saying something negative to someone it has been when I was feeling sick or powerless.
Henry Rollins once said that it takes strength to remain calm and kind. Aggression is for weak people. He was right.
I was a very negative person in High School and college. That negativity was rooted in my own sense of being powerless.
I realized – especially last year – that I am not. I gave up a lot. My books? Gone. My vinyl collection? Gone. I left it all in New Jersey and made a cross country move with only the possessions I could carry or be easily mailed.
I lost everything, but I gained it all.
That has greatly increased my quality of life and my ability to be present and kind for others.
Embrace the pain – because we all have our pain. Do not fall prey to the social narrative of the happy nuclear family. That’s actually, in my experience, rare. Let the bad things guide you.
Let them fill up your motivation tank of why you exist – to be a voice against this kind of crap. Then you’ll be free to make the decisions that are the best for you and the world.
Connect to your Why and let it drive you. Don’t let fake fairytales of what others have bring you down. React to negativity with kindness.
That is your strength. It’s endless, because jerks are entirely unspecial and common. Your kindness is what will make you stand out from the crowd.
Lots of love for a great rest of the week!
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Oni Hartstein is a Los Angeles-based CMO and entrepreneur that is obsessed with progressive rock / metal, marketing, and nightlife. Please direct all business inquiries or review requests to the "Contact" tab on the top nav bar.
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